Trottenberg on WNYC: “We’re Going to Focus on the Major Arterials”

NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning to talk about Vision Zero, improving surface transit, and expanding Citi Bike. And filling potholes.

It was Trottenberg’s first major solo media appearance, I believe, and she’s still in the broad strokes phase of talking about the DOT’s agenda. Here’s a look at what she said about a few key issues:

Automated enforcement: “We hear the case that this is just a way to raise revenue. The goal is not to raise revenue. It does raise revenue because that affects behavior. In my opinion, if people are not speeding and running red lights, and we were collecting no revenue, that would be a victory.”

Safety redesigns: Trottenberg said it’s too early to identify specific locations that will be redesigned, since DOT will be collecting feedback to guide its decisions. But she said the department will focus on the city’s widest streets. “One are I think that’s going to be a big focus for us that we hear a lot about is dealing with some of the major arterial streets in the city, that in a lot of cases were designed to speed the movement of cars and trucks. Not a lot of thought was given to how pedestrians would navigate them, and we’re really going to focus on reducing speeds and making those major arterials safer.”

BRT and Select Bus Service: Lehrer asked about the neighborhood politics of removing curbside parking to make way for bus lanes. “We want to do it in a way that the community feels like they’re a part of the process,” Trottenberg said. “You mentioned my predecessor Janette. She was able to come in an introduce a lot of new things into the city’s transportation. It took some time for people to absorb them and how they work, but I think we’re seeing a lot of support for them. And there are certainly a lot of neighborhoods around the city that are ready to embrace BRT or Select Bus Service.”

On 125th Street SBS, which has been through a ton of fits and starts already during the planning process, Trottenberg hinted that the project may be strengthened. “We’re taking a look at that,” she said. “More news to come on that.”

Citi Bike expansion: “We’re sitting down with the Citi Bike folks and looking at what might be phase two so to speak. The mayor has said that he’s very interested in expanding the program in the boroughs. And I’ve been talking to members of the City Council, and there’s certainly a lot of enthusiasm for doing that.

  • BBnet3000

    Could get halfway to solving Canal St tommorrow if we could toll the East River Bridges, and fix the Verrazano/Holland tunnel tolls so they dont incentivize doing a circle through Manhattan to get through free.

    Anyone wanna place bets if this will happen while De Blasio is in office?

    Yes, i know the MTA tolls arent in NYC DOT’s authority.

  • JarekAF

    I know Brooklyn Spoke is all about that. I love seeing his pics of Varrick and Canal and the pure ridiculousness of it all, which primarily serves as evidence to me that you have to be crazy to drive in NYC.

  • ohnonononono

    I wonder how much the Harlem pols who opposed the full 125th St SBS plan (or rather, opposed the “process” or whatever) were really expressing general anxieties about gentrification and displacement and the Bloomberg administration, and if Trottenberg might have more success with it simply because the De Blasio admin is viewed as being more amenable to the concerns of the poor and minorities…

  • Andres Dee

    Drop the elaborately planned approach to BRT and advocate for an accelerated, “good enough” approach: Every Manhattan crosstown bus line should have off-board fare collection. End the fare box queues and the endless idling. Get the buses moving. Then consider dedicated lanes and bulb-outs, etc.

  • J_12

    I always thought a simple thing that could speed up buses would be to enforce exiting through the rear doors by placing a small turnstile at the front door. I nearly always see people exiting from the front, even when the bus is half empty, which means passengers that want to board have to wait while people are exiting.
    There are probably a lot of things of this nature which would be low cost to implement, and would have a small but real impact on improving speed.

  • Andrew

    That’s a lot of fare machines. How would you fund them?

    I agree with your approach, but unfortunately much of the funding is available only on a line-by-line approach.

  • bob5

    There’s an awful lot of money to be saved by reducing dwell times. Buses continue to consume fuel while the driver waits for each and every passenger to slowly. swipe. their. metrocard.

  • Mark

    Interesting idea… The newer buses would have a problem with the wheelchair ramp being obstructed though, so you need to account for that.

  • Andrew

    It’s a lot more than fuel – fewer buses and drivers would be needed to operate buses at the same frequency, and the operating savings would be significant.

    But the MTA’s capital budget is already very oversubscribed, and fitting in a large number of fare machines would be a stretch, especially as they’d only be around until the smartcard system is rolled out in a few years. Much as we all like to see this today (if not yesterday), waiting for smartcards might be more practical.


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